Experts Present Workshops at WDE – Cowsmo

Experts Present Workshops at WDE

At World Dairy Expo the latest research will be presented by the best in the dairy business. Eight free seminars will cover a variety of management topics including: efficiency, feed and milk prices, activity monitors, automated calf feeders, robots, social media, finances and transition cows.

Continuing education credits can be earned by members of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) and the American Association of State Veterinary Boards – RACE Program* (RACE). Additionally, all seminars will be available for viewing after they are presented at

Seminars will be showcased each day, Tuesday through Saturday, in the Mendota 2 meeting room, in the Exhibition Hall. Badgerland Financial, GEA Farm Technologies, Inc., Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products, Nutrition Physiology Co. LLC, SCR Dairy, Inc, and Sioux Automation are sponsors of this year’s seminars. Following is a brief synopsis of each Expo Seminar.


Tuesday, October 1, 1 p.m.

“Dairy Sustainability: Why It’s Important for You and Your Operation”

Roberta Osborne, Manager, Farm Smart, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

Dan Rice, Partner, Prairieland Dairy LLC

Sponsored by: Nutrition Physiology Co. LLC

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)


Every day on operations around the country, dairy producers are making changes that help them be more sustainable – in feed efficiency; herd management; manure management; and energy efficiency. Roberta Osborne and Dan Rice will discuss how these efforts not only help the bottom line, they lead to continuous improvement in conservation and resource management and strengthen the farm’s relationship with the local community.


Roberta Osborne is the manager of the Farm Smart project for the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy where she is responsible for the development of the Farm Smart tool that helps dairy producers improve a farm’s bottom line and environmental impact. Prior to joining the Innovation Center, Osborne served as a dairy educator with an environmental focus at Michigan State University Extension. In that position she worked with 15 counties and held statewide responsibilities in environmental management.


Dan Rice is a partner of Prairieland Dairy, which earned the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award in 2013 from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Prairieland’s cows produce meat, manure and milk and they have two business extensions. Prairieland Foods delivers local-source-verified farm-direct milk and dairy products from Prairieland Dairy; and Prairieland Gold, the farm’s composting operation, utilizes by-products and biodegradable waste to create soil amendments sold regionally.


Wednesday, October 2, 11 a.m.

“How to Survive Current Milk and Feed Prices”

Dr. Michael Hutjens, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sponsored by: Sioux Automation

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)


Feeding the dairy herd is expensive. Dr. Michael Hutjens will discuss different approaches and feedstuffs that can be used to survive the current economic environment. He will look at the role forages can play in the feed program, emphasize metabolizable protein and rumen fermentable carbohydrates and their relation to milk components and yield. Additionally, Hutjens will discuss the pricing of feed ingredients, on-farm pricing and how computer software can help. Finally, he will discuss feed additives, by-product feeds and mineral and vitamin considerations. Hutjens has been an extension dairy specialist for 40+ years at the University of Illinois and University of Minnesota, retiring in 2010. He speaks annually at 80 to 100 meetings a year, hosts the Hoard’s Dairyman monthly webinar series, and has written several booklets on feeding, feeding systems, dry cow management and forage utilization. Hutjens has garnered numerous dairy industry honors including being named the Industry Person of the Year by World Dairy Expo in 2008.


Wednesday, October 2, 1 p.m.

“Reproductive Performance with Automated Activity Meters”

Stephen J. LeBlanc, Professor, University of Guelph

Sponsored by: SCR Dairy, Inc.

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)


Automated activity monitoring (AAM) systems are attracting interest from dairy managers as a herd reproduction management tool. Dr. Stephen LeBlanc will discuss the results of a field study in three commercial dairies over one year that compares reproductive performance between a program based on a commercial activity system and a synchronization program for timed AI. In addition to results, LeBlanc will discuss some of the variables that may influence management with the adoption of an AAM system. LeBlanc is an associate professor in the department of Population Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.  He received his bachelors in animal science from McGill University and a DVM and Doctor of Veterinary Science from the University of Guelph. After five years of private practice, he joined the faculty at Guelph, where he teaches veterinary and agriculture students and provides clinical farm services. His research focuses on transition dairy cow metabolic and reproductive health and management.



Thursday, October 3, 11 a.m.

“Opportunities and Challenges in the Use of Automated Calf Feeders”

Dr. Robert James, Professor, Virginia Tech

Sponsored by: Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)


Every new technology offers new opportunities as well as challenges to successful implementation. Dr. Robert James will focus on potential benefits to calf nutrition, as well as pitfalls in management of automated calf feeders, based upon behavioral and nutritional research.  He will use studies that monitored use of automatic calf feeders on Virginia and North Carolina dairy farms. Protocols for dietary management and recommended routine assessments to promote desired results will be presented. James is a faculty member of the Virginia Tech Dairy Science Department with responsibilities in extension, teaching and research. He enjoys teaching and working with undergraduates and dairy producers. His research has focused on management of growing calves and heifers. He is a founding member of the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association and has served as the conference chairperson several times. James has made presentations and consults with dairies and feed companies in over 20 U.S. states, Canada, South America, Asia and Europe.


Thursday, October 3, 1:00 p.m.

“Milking with Robots: How is it Done?”

Dr. Marcia Endres, Professor, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Sponsored by:  GEA Farm Technologies, Inc.

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)


How are producers using robotic milking systems? How are the cows responding? Dr. Marcia Endres will discuss newly completed research from 52 dairy farms in Minnesota and Wisconsin that use robotic milking systems. Results from housing and management practices will be presented. Cow records will also be evaluated and used to demonstrate the impact certain management styles with robots have on herds. Endres is an associate professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota with an extension/research appointment. Her research interests include dairy management, welfare and behavior. She has investigated how various types of housing and management systems can influence health, welfare and performance of dairy cattle. Some of her current research projects include precision dairy technologies such as automated calf feeders, robotic milking systems and sensors. Endres received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, her Masters from Iowa State University, and a Veterinary Medicine degree from University Federal of Parana, Brazil.



Friday, October 4, 11 a.m.

“Say What? When to Tell Your Social Media Story”

Michele Knoper – Moderator, Cause Matters Corp

Carrie Mess,

Emily Zweber, Zweber Family Farms

David Foster, Foster Dairy

Sponsored by: Digi-Star

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)


This producer panel, led by Michele Payn-Knoper, will discuss the importance of social media and different tools that exist. Carrie Mess, Emily Zweber and David Foster will also present why they choose certain media sites and how they find time to communicate their message about dairy farming. Our panel will also give tips and ideas on telling your story.


Michele Payn-Knoper of Cause Matters Corp., is one of North America’s leading farm and food advocates. She has helped thousands of people in to connect the farm gate to the food plate through her speaking programs and new book No More Food Fights!. Michele has worked with producers in more than 25 countries, raised over $5 million in sponsorships for the National FFA Foundation and founded the weekly online Twitter conversation, AgChat, which has involved thousands of people from around the world since April 2009.


Carrie Mess is a dairy farmer, blogger, agriculture agvocate and a sales representative for Udder Comfort. She has been featured in several industry publications including Dairy Business Communications and The Bullvine. Growing up as a city kid three generations removed from the farm, Carrie now uses social media to bring her unique perspective to bridging the gap between farmers and their customers. Carrie and her husband farm in partnership with his parents on their 100 cow dairy in south central Wisconsin.


Emily Zweber serves as the executive director of the AgChat Foundation (ACF). ACF is a not for profit organization whose mission is to empower farmers and ranchers to connect in communities using social media platforms. Emily and her husband, Tim, co-own and operate a dairy farm in Minnesota, Zweber Family Farms, with Tim’s parents. The Zwebers use social media to tell the wonderful story of their family farm and connect with those outside of agriculture.


As a dairyman from Southeast Kansas, David Foster has a strong passion for the dairy industry. David, along with his wife, daughters and his parents, own Foster Dairy. Always looking for new opportunities, David Foster prides himself in being an entrepreneur. He just recently created his own business of mobile marketing through creating mobile apps and other emerging technologies. His dual major at Kansas State in Animal Science and Ag Communications and Journalism made it easy for him to transition into the realm of social media.



Friday, October 4, 1 p.m.

“Adoption of Revenue Risk Management and Why Knowing Your Income Over Feed Cost is Important”

Dr. Brian Gould, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sponsored by: Badgerland Financial

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)


With increased volatility in grain markets, many dairy producers are concerned with the adoption of revenue risk management (i.e., Income over Feed Cost, IOFC). Dr. Brian Gould will cover alternative methods for managing your revenue volatility with the objective of minimizing downside revenue movements. In this discussion, he will emphasize why knowing your IOFC is important for establishing an appropriate risk management program. Gould is currently a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and University of Wisconsin Extension at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His areas of research expertise include dairy marketing, dairy price risk management, U.S. dairy policy and the analysis of food purchase behavior by U.S. households. Professor Gould has received numerous teaching and extension-related awards over his career. He has published more than 45 referred journal articles on a variety of topics. His extension efforts are centered on increasing the use of price and revenue risk management by dairy producers, processors and users of dairy products.


Saturday, October 5, 11 a.m.

“Best Management of Transition Cows”

Dr. Robert Van Saun, Professor and Extension Veterinarian, Penn State University

Sponsored by:

Continuing Education Credits: ARPAS (1), RACE (1)

The transition period has received intense scrutiny from research and the field over the past three decades. Nutritional management of various aspects has been investigated and applied, but health problems in calving cows remain. How the cow interacts with the environment from housing and feeding facilities may play an equally or more important role in properly managing the transition cow for success. Dr. Robert Van Saun will review, critique and assess nutritional and environmental issues in attempting to improve transition cow management. Van Saun is a professor and extension veterinarian in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University. He received his veterinary degree and completed his Master’s degree and residency training at Michigan State University and a Ph.D. degree in ruminant nutrition at Cornell University. He was in private practice in New York and Michigan and an ambulatory clinician at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University. His research and extension programs focus on integration of nutrition, animal health and productivity, and emphasize the critical role of pregnancy nutrition on animal performance.

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